Converge PoE Part 1: PoE Technology Business

Part 1: PoE LiveStream Discussion on the Business of PoE Technology

March 2, 2020


At the 2019 BICSI Fall Conference, Igor’s Director of Business Development, Matt Conger, joined Tyler and Maria from PoE Texas on the Converge PoE Live Stream to continue the conversation about PoE technology and Igor’s platform, Nexos. We summarized the conversation on how to sell PoE technology from the show and added some additional context that we did not have time to touch on while live! 

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If you want to understand how to make Power over Ethernet (PoE) part of your business, not just an interesting concept, then the transition from liking and seeing the technology to truly making it a part of your business is a real step. It’s a step that has some lessons learned. 

What is the distinction between PoE Lighting System and selling an intelligent building infrastructure? Why is it important?

[Matt] What I like to talk about is how intelligent buildings foster occupant productivity, fulfillment, health, safety and security all while maximizing energy savings and minimizing maintenance. Igor’s IoT platform utilizes digital infrastructures or Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) to deliver this. The system puts intelligence out on the edge of a building’s infrastructure, allowing for faster implementation of IoT applications.

[Tyler] When you say out on the edge, what I am envisioning is that you are taking an intelligent device, putting it near what you can control. 

[Matt] Yes, absolutely. Another way you can look at it is to think about where they are putting data centers these days. They are closer to your major markets where you are streaming content, or you really want fast data movement and so you want to get those data centers as close as you can to the action, the same kind of thing we are doing in the commercial building infrastructure.


So, lighting is the common denominator right now, everyone does lighting in their own ways. But what’s beyond that can vary but the ability to go forward is important as well?

[Matt] Lighting is a good way to get in the door, the clients or end-users are very familiar with lighting, it’s something they see and touch every day and it is a great object to support because people like the idea of saving money, maximizing their energy savings and minimizing maintenance and how can they deliver a better total installed system. But then what its actually capable is well beyond just lighting.

At our Davidson high school project, we deploy things like lights, visible beacons, audible beacons, gunshot detection sensors while one of our partners deployed media displays to show content. The idea is you want to provide an audible tactile and visual indication means to make people aware of an uncommon stressful event where you need to standardize communication to ensure consistent communication of an issue. We want to give you the visual, audible and tactile indications that let you know about that and then also we want to let teachers, families, friends, local law enforcement know that there is an issue on campus. It’s about how quickly can we communicate a standardized communication all while making people feel safer and secure.


We have the technology; we have the power. But do we know what to do with it?

[Matt] Another one is the senior care space, one of our clients has both an independent living facility as well as an assisted living facility on site. And so, the idea there is we are deploying our patient comfort and automation solution.  We are monitoring resting heart rate and breathing patterns as well telling how a person’s quality of sleep is using the digital infrastructure or deploying things like proximity readers or tagging assets with Bluetooth objects and sensors with lighting. And along with lighting, utilizing changes in color temperature for tunable white lighting or doing circadian rhythm. Lastly, deploying lights that have a low spectrum of blue content. By providing lights that have a low spectrum of blue content, this has shown that people will sleep better and be more productive. So, lighting is just one of those many objects that leverages that digital infrastructure which is Igor and PoE.

[Tyler] Yeah, I agree. The experience of being in the hospital is uncomfortable by itself. You are not in your own bed, you don’t have your normal things around you. There’s a rhythm that the hospital has to maintain for your health, and they need to do that. I think challenges out there for medical care facilities, the key steps that you can make a space more comfortable, more relaxing, sleep better. There is real value to your health, I mean it’s not just a comfort thing, people feel better when they can be normal.

One of the things we talked about is how to get PoE into your business. Now, if I am a contactor or installer who wants to start offering a solution, where do I find opportunities for customers?

[Matt] We are looking for or we want to move toward smart buildings leveraging the digital building infrastructure. We are seeing that those are mainly an end user driven conversation today. We are also starting to see where the architect or mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering firms, as well as new specialized firms that focus on technology or IT architecture are becoming more and more engaged, so it’s still primarily end user driven. When I say end user driven, I mean things like owner, owner/operators, as well as their owner representatives. We are looking for folks like directors of real estate, directors of IT facilities operations, and occasionally we have been brought into other organizations by maybe human resources so there’s still all kinds of ways to get there, but it’s still primarily end user focused. 

Can you talk about PoE lighting itself? What are the main elements are of an Igor PoE lighting system? 

[Tyler] I know Igor has a standard, but I want to get into this as broadly as possible. A PoE lighting system, has the lights with some type of LED driver that is PoE-powered. I think that is pretty uniformed across the board with most companies in this space – the idea as you take PoE into some device, and that device converts it into power for the LED. Then it varies among the companies, whether it’s completely distributed or whether you have a central node. Give us the Igor view – what are the main elements of an Igor system? 

[Matt] At Igor, we make the Nodes or drivers as you mentioned that are powering these lights.  We also make the software that runs the entire system or operating system. A lot of times some of our fixture manufacturer partners will embed the Igor node inside of the fixtures from the factory. When it shows up, it literally hangs just like a traditional fixture. It’s got 45 watts on it and then you can quickly connect into it and then depending on the power requirements on that fixtures, you can actually connect multiple fixtures on a single home run. Therefore, leveraging less labor, less copper, fewer ports, fewer ethernet cables to support these things.


How do you design a school system? I know Igor’s got a standard but I want to get it as broad as possible for the people and maybe we can answer that question of PoE lighting system obviously has to include lights and some type of LED driver that’s PoE powered and I think it’s pretty uniform across the board.

[Matt] As far as schools themselves and how do you get them started, one is we are meeting with one of the architects or engineers that are designing these schools as well as the school district themselves. You can get a school district to pay attention to this topic by mentioning the problems or challenges that the technology solves, whether it’s learning, safety, or productivity-related. Once you get that message across to the end user and the architects, now you have got most of the decision makers surrounded, so if we can get them all on the same page and excited about it, then we can move forward onto the next step which is how do we lay out the systems. On that point, we are on the front end of a design, working with them, laying out fixtures, help them to choose distributed or centralized design, all the different parts and pieces required to build out a school. 

[Tyler] I would second that. In my opinion, the best time to import, include any of this in any PoE lighting system is up in the concept and planning phase. The longer the project goes on or they are already building a project, it’s probably a bad time.

[Added by Igor] We host quarterly trainings for ecosystem partners and the public via our Igor University program. You learn the basics about PoE technology generally, and then dive into the specifics of the Igor platform. 


Did you miss Igor on the latest Converge PoE Live Stream?

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